Day Four of our Disney trip was probably the best day we had there. The Nemo cast meet and greet was the single most magical experience, but this was just the best day. Let me tell you about it.
First, this was my outfit for this Christmas-themed day. I got this dress from Amazon just a week before our trip. I realized it was silly of me to have planned out my outfits for a Christmas trip to Disney without planning for a Christmas outfit. Plaid tights, over the top plaid dress, and Christmas ears.
Our day started with breakfast reservations at Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club resort. Being the veteran Disneygoer that I am, I thought I knew how to get there from our resort. Since there are no buses directly from resort to resort, I'd take a bus to the park that was closest to the Beach Club, and then take a bus from there to the resort.
So we went to Epcot. And departing the bus, I asked where the bus stop was for Beach Club. The driver told me there wasn't one. We had to get on a bus from Epcot to Hollywood Studios, where we should have gone in the first place. (sigh) This information is just not that easy to find online, so I was going off my false confidence.
When we got to Hollywood Studios, the ferry to the resort was sitting there waiting. We ran this time, no power walk, but a full run, to get on it.
Bottom line is...we wound up about 20 minutes late for our breakfast reservation, but the gal at the desk was super nice and sweet about it.
We chose to try this character breakfast at Cape May because we couldn't get our usual Crystal Palace reservations this trip. And...well...it was awesome! Great character interaction, but perhaps even more importantly, delicious food. I think I liked their options there even better than the breakfast at Crystal Palace. I'll definitely consider going back again next time.
First character around was Donald.
Next was Goofy, looking silly and cute.
Minnie came around next, and we had a bit of girl talk about her outfit (first time I've seen her in shorts!) before we got photos together.
We ate several plates of breakfast before we rolled out of there and into the lobby of the Beach Resort, to admire their awesome chocolate carousel. Each carousel horse was made to resemble a different fab five Disney character. As Denise pointed out the night before, it's like the carousel horses are Disneybounding. Can you figure out who is who?
|My favorite. Look at the shoes! They are glittery too, though it's hard to see.|
Jeff and Denise gave us the tip the night before to go up to the second story and look down to see another hidden Mickey on the carousel. Do you see it?
I love this outfit so much, I took another ensemble shot in front of the carousel.
From the Beach Club, we took a bus to the Magic Kingdom, and then went on the resort loop of the monorail to check out the Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian.
The Contemporary was too...well...contemporary for our liking, but they had a neat gingerbread display of Frozen characters done in a Mary Blair style.
With an accompanying Snowgie castle.
The Polynesian was fun to see. All of their Christmas decor was filled with exotic tropical flowers and Tiki accents.
The tree was so festive and decorative. I joked as I stood in front of it that I was wearing Christmas camo.
The Grand Floridian was indeed lovely. We've seen so many videos of the place, it was strange to actually see it in person. A bit too stuffed-shirt for me to ever want to stay there, but it was fun to visit. They had a lovely tree decorated in Swan-theme with pastel decor.
There was a photopass photographer taking pictures in front of the tree.
The Grand Floridian also has a one-story tall gingerbread house. The house is so sturdy that there's actually a sales room in it, with cast members selling gingerbread and goodies out a window on the far side, not seen.
I found myself in one of the murals!
Totally smitten with these lovely inlays of Chip and Mrs. Potts on the floors.
More details of the gingerbread house.
At this point, we could have hopped on a boat to the Wilderness Lodge, but we were starting to get a bit tired, and had a full evening ahead of us, so we hopped back to Pop Century to take a quick two hour power nap before going to the Magic Kingdom for our night at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
The party doesn't begin until 7pm, but guests with event tickets can enter the park anytime after 4pm. It still amazes me how many people don't seem to know that.
There was a special walkway right by Tony's on Main Street for partygoers to walk, get their photos taken, and pick up a cookie. We posed by this on-theme oversized Christmas ornament.
We had a fast pass for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a favorite ride of ours in the Magic Kingdom. Every time we ride this, we get the same old boring smiling ride photo, so this time we changed it up a bit, and it came out so much better than I'd hoped.
I didn't photoshop this to emphasize us...The sun was shining right on us, right smack dab in the middle of the photo as we smooched. I love this photo.
And the video:
We hadn't done Enchanted Tales with Belle yet, so we went over to Maurice's cottage. Maurice had a Beauty and the Beast themed tree in his living room, with cogs, roses, and clocks. The swags also matched.
I got my photo next to the little themed tree before we went in.
I love this little carved wood portrait of Belle and Beast in Maurice's work room. Perhaps a witc...er...woodcarver...made it for them.
Shortly after, we decided it was close enough to the party start time of 7:00 to go to Storybook Circus and wait in line for Scrooge McDuck and Donald. We waited there about 45 minutes before the two of them actually came out. We were only second or third in line, so we met them quickly.
I used to watch Duck Tales in my 90s childhood, so I was excited to meet Scrooge. I asked to get my photo with just him.
And Donald was jealous. He hopped in front of the camera, blocking our shot.
...which I clearly found hilarious.
Finally we got a great shot of the four of us together.
This shot of Tom hugging Donald cracks me up, because it looks like he's choking him and he's crying out for help while we ignore them.
Donald kissed my hand, what a gentleman, and we walked on.
Next we met Santa Goofy! We joked with him about not revealing his true identity as Goofy.
I love this shot:
Next on our to-meet list was Mickey in his holiday outfit. We joined the queue, and I got my second red card of the trip!
Hugs all around.
Then Mickey asked Tom to help him with a card trick.
Applause when he got the card "right."
And a photo with the Big Cheese.
We watched Jeff and Denise's Christmas Party tips on their MouseSteps weekly episode, and followed them to the letter. On a typical party night, if you want to meet Nick and Judy, or if you want to meet Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws, it's a good idea to get in line right when you arrive at 4:00 or shortly thereafter, and they would arrive shortly before the party started at 7. You have to choose one or the other, because there's no way to meet both...the lines are just too long. We decided to skip both meet and greets, even though we wanted to meet both of them, because that was just too much wasted park time sitting in line.
But we had noticed over the course of the evening that this was a delightfully sparsely attended party night. Which shocked us, after the huge crowds we had seen at the end of our first trip day (Thursday Dec 1) for the party night that night. We thought for sure a weekend party would be even more crowded than that, and braced ourselves for a packed solid Magic Kingdom.
So, why not...we thought. Let's just see what the line is like to meet Sandy Claws.
I got my next red card of the night. This time it was a green card, actually, but it serves the same purpose. This cast member remembered me from a question I'd asked him by the castle on our first day there, and insisted on getting in the photo when I told him we liked to document all the red cards we got.
Twenty minutes or so later, we were meeting Sandy Claws! What a delightfully creepy fellow. I so wish we'd captured the moment, but this was right after. When it was our turn, he walked up to right behind this pole of the gazebo, and slowly turned his head on a precise 90 degree angle until it was peeking out the side of the pole, and that was all you saw. It was so perfectly bizarre and SO very Jack. Well done, sir.
We got a photo with Sandy Claws...
And I asked for one doing the "in a coffin" pose.
By this point, it was about 8:30 or so, but the parade hadn't quite made it to Main Street. Jeff had advised us to try to get things with long lines done during the first parade, and to actually go to the 11:00 one instead, since most people go to the first. We raced over to Tomorrowland ahead of the parade and saw that the line for Nick and Judy also wasn't bad at all. So Tom got to meet one of his favorite characters.
Here he's showing Judy the painting of her on his magic band.
Meanwhile I was telling Nick that foxes are my favorite animals, and how much I liked their background. He pointed to it and made hammering motions. "You made the sign?" I asked, and he nodded. "I should have known, you're full of great puns. What a tricksy fox. But that's part of what I love about you!"
Tom showed Judy the button we had for her. Yes, Princessbeautycase made a drawing of Judy with a flower crown, so we had one to give to her. (and coincidentally, I made one for me and Tom both to keep because I love that button)
She was super excited about the button and gave Tom a big hug, then came over to me, holding my hand in her (super soft) paws and showing it to me, hopping up and down and giving me a big hug too.
Group photo time! One of our favorite meet and greets of the trip. They gave us a nice long time.
Tom wanted a solo shot with his favorite.
It couldn't be done on almost any other Christmas party night, but sure enough...we were able to meet Scrooge and Donald, Sandy Claws, AND Nick and Judy all in one night. What an unexpected surprise.
After meeting Nick and Judy, it was almost 9:00 at night, and our breakfast was starting to wear off, much as we had stuffed ourselves. So we decided to try Cosmic Ray's for the first time. It's now our top choice for quick service in the Magic Kingdom. So good!! For $10, you get a hearty meal of really good chicken fingers, a side of mac and cheese, and almost too many fries to eat. There's a fixins bar with items meant for hamburgers, but all are free (pickles, mushrooms, etc) and best of all...there's a table right by a window looking out at the castle.
Tom shot a picture of the castle from the window, and we were able to watch the castle projection show from a nice comfortable view as we ate. Just another magical moment in a wonderful evening full of magical moments.
Freak quiet evenings in the Magic Kingdom are the perfect times to ride my favorite ride in the entire universe, the Haunted Mansion. Sure enough...the ride queue was only 10 minutes (it was actually a walk-on) and the room was only half-full. When the ride calms like this, the cast members also get into their eerie roles more too, doing things like sneaking around the stretching room to make people jump, etc. Not to mention...entering the ride in the dark makes it even more atmospheric.
I took a selfie in front of my beloved ride.
And Tom and I got a photo outside, as Christmas Wishes fireworks exploded overhead.
We walked over to Frontierland to find a spot for the Once Upon a Christmastime parade, after stopping by a treat stop to get free ginger cookies and eggnog. There weren't many people waiting for the parade yet, so we chose our spot carefully, choosing a location that was right near an entrance to the walkway/bridge that goes along the water near Frontierland, for an easy exit after the parade ended. Strategy ;)
Tom got a great shot of Vanellope letting go of the wheel for a moment.
Goofy on his yummy smelling candy float!
New Beast! Yes, this is a different look for Beast. Compare it to my photos of him at his castle. This parade is the only place where you'll see this look so far. I'm curious to see if it expands to other locations. I like this look a lot.
After the parade, we snuck back near the Haunted Mansion and Rapunzel rest area to get ahead of the crowd. As we passed by Peter Pan's flight, we saw Mary and Bert were meeting with only like...two people in line. Don't mind if we do.
Bert told a punny joke to the people ahead of us in line about carousel horses. As I walked up to him, I said "oh dear, Bert, I know it's a cold evening, but you sound a little hoarse." He chuckled and said "I like this girl."
We decided to try to meet Rapunzel with Flynn, since Flynn almost never meets in Disney World (though the two of them meeting together is a regular occurrence at Disneyland) In the queue line, I got another red card. Three in one night! The cast members must have liked the Christmas dress. ;)
Unfortunately, the photopass photographer had their camera on terrible settings, so our photos with them turned out grainy, dark, and abysmal. I was able to rescue this one.
Flynn gave Tom a great lead-in to talk to Tiana and Naveen. He asked if Pascal was Tom's favorite amphibian. Tom joked with Tiana and Flynn that this was an awkward question with them standing right there, and there was some friendly rivalry quipped back and forth.
Finally, to end the night, we stood and waited to watch the new castle show, Mickey's Most Merriest Celebration. Tom got another lovely castle shot as we waited.
We LOVED this show. It was so fun and cheerful, with very catchy songs, live music, and all the characters cheerfully singing along.
There was one reindeer in particular who stole the show and put the audience into fits of laughter with his exuberant performance.
The final number was a surprise to me, since I had intentionally not watched Jeff's video ahead of time. They ended with "It Feels Like Christmas," from Muppet Christmas Carol, one of Tom and my must-watch Christmas movies we view every year. What a lovely surprise!! Seeing this stage show right before we left the park after midnight was the perfect final glow of warm, holiday tidings.
As we walked out, I took one last shot of Main Street lit in green for the holidays.
What a truly flawless, magical night. It was definitely the best ticketed party experience we've had at Disney World yet.
Day 5 was coming soon...a trip to Hollywood Studios!